Quotations of Wisdom

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Marshall McLuhan

The scientist rigorously defends his right to be ignorant of almost everything except his specialty. [Q1483]

Noam Chomsky

States are not moral agents, people are, and can impose moral standards on powerful institutions. [Q158]

Alexis de Tocqueville

Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic. [Q958]

Henry A. Wallace

This dullness of vision regarding the importance of the general welfare to the individual is the measure of the failure of our schools and churches to teach the spiritual significance of genuine democracy. [Q463]

Isaac Newton

I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people. [Q367]

David Hume

What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call thought. [Q1365]

Charles Lindbergh

I have seen the science I worshipped, and the aircraft I loved, destroying the civilization I expected them to serve. [Q1943]

Noam Chomsky

Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media. [Q151]

Alcee Hastings

Not just Christians and Jews, but also Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and the followers of many other religions believe in values like peace, respect, tolerance and dignity. These are values that bring people together and enable us to build responsible and solid communities. [Q1499]

Ramana Maharshi

The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts and the degree of concentration on a single thought are the measures to gauge spiritual progress. [Q1041]


Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance. [Q802]


Inferiors revolt in order that they may be equal, and equals that they may be superior. Such is the state of mind which creates revolutions. [Q850]

Jimmy Wales

People are not fundamentally bad. It only takes the smallest of correctives to take care of that tiny minority that wants to disrupt the community. [Q218]

Thurgood Marshall

If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his house, what books he may read or what films he may watch. [Q752]

T.S. Elliot

It's strange that words are so inadequate. Yet, like the asthmatic struggling for breath, so the lover must struggle for words. [Q338]

Edward Levi

The concept of reason itself appears as an artificial attempt to separate intellectual powers from the frustrations, emotions, and accidents which cause events; the concept of reason is viewed as facade to prevent change. [Q212]


Do not talk a little on many subjects, but much on a few. [Q925]

Elbert Hubbart

Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you. [Q1385]

Henry Drummond

An idea is a greater monument than any cathedral. And the advance of man's knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters — Inherit the Wind [Q104]

Ward Cunningham

With wiki, you have to trust people more than you have any reason to trust them. In 1995, it was a safer environment, don’t know if I could have launched wiki today. [Q1014]

Henry Drummond

Then why did God plaint us with the power to think? Mr. Brady, why do you deny the one faculty of man that raises him above the other creatures of the earth: the power of his brain to reason? — Inherit the Wind [Q105]


The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits. [Q787]


Study the past if you would define the future. [Q610]

Margaret Mead

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. [Q946]

William Gibson

Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts. [Q679]

Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu

If triangles made a god they would give him three sides. [Q1527]

René Descartes

When it is not in our power to follow what is true, we ought to follow what is most probable. [Q1127]


Truth is the beginning of every good to the gods, and of every good to man. [Q908]

L. Peter Deutsch

To iterate is human, to recurse divine. [Q676]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss. [Q405]


It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world. [Q852]

Clarence Darrow

Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to? [Q1095]

Swami Vivekananda

If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practiced, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished. [Q1138]

John Searle

Where questions of style and exposition are concerned I try to follow a simple maxim: if you can't say it clearly you don't understand it yourself. [Q1187]

Alexis de Tocqueville

The power of the periodical press is second only to that of the people. [Q964]

Scott Nesler

Sometimes we become so focused on the syntax of words that meaning is lost. Understanding is an iterative process often involving fuzzy logic. Don't let words get in the way of understanding. [Q400]

Senator Paul Simon

Cynicism is contagious, just as enthusiasm is. When reporters who constantly question everyone's motives convey that cynicism in their stories, the public is soon afflicted with the same disease. Reports should be skeptical, ask questions, dig for the facts, and where appropriate make judgements on motivation. But to assume that no public official ever has any aim other than being reelected is a inaccurate as assuming that it is never a motivating factor.

Where public officials make mistakes — and we all do — we should be taken to task both in articles and in editorials. But painting the political horizon as too bleak discourages citizens from using the tools of democracy to improve our communities and our nation. Cynicism by the media produces cynical citizens.


Henry David Thoreau

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. [Q1313]

David Foster Wallace

This is so American, man: either make something your God and cosmos and then worship it, or else kill it. [Q985]


I have gained this from philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law. [Q847]

Meister Eckhart

What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action. [Q1636]

Napoleon Hill

Reduce your plan to writing. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire. [Q685]

Donald E. Westlake

All of the changes in publishing since 1960 are significant. There are far fewer publishers. [Q1194]

Senator Paul Simon

... the rigidity and piousness and the unwillingness to face fundamental facts by some of the pro-life people offends me. If our aim is to stop abortion, then we should be encouraging family planning and sex education, both of which reduces the abortion rate, but many in their ranks oppose the measures. They say that sex education in the public schools will require that certain moral judgements have to made in the process, and even teaching about this as a mechanistic amoral process involves teaching choices. There is truth to that, so are their churches providing sex education classes? With rare exceptions the answer is no.

Jeanne and I once made our home available for a teenager so that she could carry a baby to term, and a family in California then adopted the baby. How many of the pro-life zealots have done something practical like that, something more difficult than carrying signs and booing those who you disagree?


Orrin G. Hatch

For almost two decades we alternated as Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Labor Committee, now called the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. During this time we were able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to craft some of this nation's most important health legislation. — Referring to Ted Kennedy. [Q284]


A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers. [Q871]

Arthur Erickson

Our incapacity to comprehend other cultures stems from our insistence on measuring things in our own terms. [Q283]

Meister Eckhart

The more we have the less we own. [Q1630]

Wole Soyinka

See, even despite pious statements to the contrary, much of the industrialized world has not yet come to terms with the recognition of the fallacy of what I call the strong man syndrome. [Q1052]

George Berkeley

That one idea may suggest another to the mind, it will suffice that they have been observed to go together, without any demonstration of the necessity of their coexistence, or so much as knowing what it is that makes them so to coexist. [Q1441]

Richard Ruhl

I saw a van with a bumper sticker saying "I am a vet, therefore I drive like an animal." Suddenly I realized how many proctologist there are on the roads [Q2095]

Walter Koenig

Religious tolerance is something we should all practice; however, there have been more persecution and atrocities committed in the name of religion and religious freedom than anything else. [Q1501]

Margaret Sanger

No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother. [Q1668]

Swami Vivekananda

The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them. [Q1141]

Václav Havel

It's not hard to stand behind one's successes. But to accept responsibility for one's failures... that is devilishly hard! But only thence does the road lead... to a radically new insight into the mysterious gravity of my existence as an uncertain enterprise and to its transcendental meaning. [Q1763]

Scott Nesler

The task of doing good is subjective, requiring refinement to reach its highest potential. [Q1179]


The beginning is the most important part of the work. [Q893]

Christopher Alexander

The structure of life I have described in buildings - the structure which I believe to be objective - is deeply and inextricably connected with the human person, and with the innermost nature of human feeling. [Q672]


People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die. [Q890]

Pablo Picasso

The world today doesn't make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do? [Q606]

Flannery O'Connor

Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher. [Q612]

Margaret Mead

I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world. [Q949]


Different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life and forms of government. [Q839]

Albert Einstein

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. [Q23]

Adlai Stevenson

An Independent is someone who wants to take the politics out of politics. [Q1645]

Jeff Atwood

In software, we rarely have meaningful requirements. Even if we do, the only measure of success that matters is whether our solution solves the customer’s shifting idea of what their problem is. [Q677]

Leo Tolstoy

Without knowing what I am and why I am here, life is impossible. [Q1064]

Stephen Hawking

It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years. [Q729]

Milton S Hershey

The value of our good is not measured by what it does, but by the amount of good it does to the one concerned. [Q1392]

Charles Lindbergh

Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values... God made life simple. It is man who complicates it. [Q1934]

Eoghan Harris

Factualism is fancy foreplay, it rarely penetrates the truth. Factualism is media masturbation. [Q140]

John D Barrow

People assume that because you have graced the same stage as the star act, in front of thousands, you must be reaping similar financial rewards. This is a complete fallacy. [Q1050]

Master Po

Never assume because a man has no eyes he cannot see. —- Kung Fu Television series 1972 [Q509]

Robert J. Gula

We all have emotional needs: the need to love, to be loved, to be accepted, to feel a sense of accomplishment, to feel a sense of self-worth, to feel important, to feel needed, to protect ourselves, to attain status in our own eyes and in the eyes of others, to be secure. These needs, in turn, conceal other emotions: love, hate, fear, jealousy, anger, guilt, greed, hope, loyalty. The emotions are fragile and sensitive. They are easily tampered with and they are easily manipulated. A person who knows how to appeal to our emotions can deceive us, manipulate us, and get us to accept as true that which is untrue. — Nonsense Red Herrings, Staw Men and Sacred Cows: HOw We Abuse Logic in Our Everyday Language. [Q1185]

Grover Cleveland

What is the use of being elected or re-elected unless you stand for something? Trust the people, trust their good sense, their decency, their fortitude, their faith. Trust them with the facts. Trust them with the great decisions. ... What wins is more important than who wins. [Q1843]

Richard P. Feynman

It's because someone knows something about it that we can't talk about physics. It's the things that nobody knows about that we can discuss. We can talk about the weather; we can talk about social problems; we can talk about psychology; we can talk about international finance... so it's the subject that nobody knows anything about that we can all talk about! [Q971]

Caine and Master Kan

Caine, "Beauty differs from being to being". Master Kan, "Beauty is constant as is the truth. Seek and find what is the truth". Caine, "What is the truth of man, Master". Master Kan, "It has been said that a man is three things, what he thinks he is, what others think he is, and what he really is. Which of these do you feel is the truth"? Caine, "What he really is, but if a man is wrong about himself, and others are wrong about him, who is left to say what he really is"? Master Kan, "At what point in time can a man be fixed from force if he is to live and grow". Caine, "He must change". Master Kan, "As the lowly caterpillar transforms itself into a finer and more beautiful creature". Kung Fu" 1973 Season 2, Episode 14 [Q617]

Charles Lindbergh

Decades spent in contact with science and its vehicles have directed my mind and senses to areas beyond their reach. I now see scientific accomplishments as a path, not an end; a path leading to and disappearing in mystery. [Q1941]

Václav Havel

Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance. [Q1742]

Fredrik Bajer

To read the report of a discussion in which arguments for and against are presented, in which a subject has been covered from different points of view, with new ideas advanced - this is far more instructive than to read a brief account of the resolution passed on the matter. [Q1258]


So potent was religion in persuading to evil deeds. [Q1563]

Thomas Huxley

Science is simply common sense at its best, that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic. [Q1051]

John Lennon

There's nothing you can do that can't be done. Nothing you can sing that can't be sung. Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game. It's easy. All you need is love. [Q366]

Enrico Fermi

There are two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a measurement. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery. [Q320]

Jeremy Bentham

The said truth is that it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong. [Q458]

Senator Paul Simon

There is no scarcity of people who are oppressed. There is only a scarcity of men and women with eyes clear enough to see and hearts big enough to act. [Q1898]

Marshall McLuhan

I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't believed it. [Q1460]

Buckminster Fuller

If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference. [Q109]

Adlai Stevenson

To act coolly, intelligently and prudently in perilous circumstances is the test of a man - and also a nation. [Q1655]

Henry Drummond

Fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, backward, through the glorious ages of that sixteenth century, when bigots burned the man who dared to bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind. — Inherit the Wind [Q103]

Albert Einstein

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. [Q19]

Henry David Thoreau

I think that there is nothing, not even crime, more opposed to poetry, to philosophy, to life itself than this incessant business. [Q147]

George S Patton

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking. [Q501]

James Q Wilson

Order exists because a system of beliefs and sentiments held by members of a society sets limits to what those members can do. [Q1908]

John Maynard Keynes

Ideas shape the course of history. [Q94]

Michael Korda

The freedom to fail is vital if you're going to succeed. Most successful people fail from time to time, and it is a measure of their strength that failure merely propels them into some new attempt at success. [Q457]

Thor Heyerdahl

It is also rarer to find happiness in a man surrounded by the miracles of technology than among people living in the desert of the jungle and who by the standards set by our society would be considered destitute and out of touch. [Q1537]

Dennis Prager

Our scientific age demands that we provide definitions, measurements, and statistics in order to be taken seriously. Yet most of the important things in life cannot be precisely defined or measured. Can we define or measure love, beauty, friendship, or decency, for example? [Q453]

Wendell Berry

As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection. [Q1344]


The life so short, the craft so long to learn. [Q1033]

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